The Sage Group ran a web-based research study called, “My Views on Environmentally Friendly Packaging,” and president Elin Raymond of The Sage Group branding/marketing firm wrote an April article on it in Packaging Digest. The study was sent to approximately 800 multiple-generation “friends” through an email or a Facebook link. Groups were asked to check all that apply on a list of environmental practices that included, for example, assessing packages for the 3Rs (reduce, recycle, reuse). The age ranges were broken down into the following categories:

Millennials 17-25 years
GenXers 26-40 years
Boomers 41-55 years
Matures 56+ years

All ages held recycling as the main ingredient of good environmental practices. The next step is to have as many companies stand behind these practices and produce recyclable yet functional packaging. Although, the study results deduced that consumers need more education regarding the subtleties of sustainability and the 3Rs. The article mentions one example that when asked what kinds of packaging consumers view as eco-friendly and what they don’t, most don’t know if a bottle or container is made of PET or HDPE. To the consumers defense they can tell if a plastic bottle is lighter weight and which products seem over-packaged.

Each generation have different views and varying degrees of participation with purchasing and sustainability in the environment. The article gives more details and is worth a read-through in my opinion, but I’ll make it easier for you the reader by presenting the “key takeaways” as quoted from the end of the article:

“These findings cover all four generations:

~They believe they can have a significant impact on the environment.

~ They seek data on the environmental impact of a product and its packaging on which to base purchasing decisions.
~ They view “hard-packaging” and over-packaging as environmentally destructive.
~ They're unaware of the sustainability nuances of the various types of packaging materials (plastic is bad, glass is good, reused materials are good, etc.).
~ To them, sustainable packaging is recyclable packaging. Period.
~ They avoid buying from companies they perceive as having a bad reputation—ethically or environmentally.
~ They recognize greenwashing when they see it. Authenticity and transparency are essential to them."

"Most importantly, the entire group sees a company, its brands, products and packaging as one and the same. This validates the sustainability approach adopted by the green front-runners: Sustainability is not a trend. It's a cultural keystone and a key attribute that must permeate the organization.”

Elin Raymond goes on to write a second article in the May issue of Packaging Digest so stayed tuned for another one of my blogs. In the meantime start educating yourself and look up what PET and HDPE stand for and see where else it takes you!
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Tina Lamanna

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